Humanizing Work Conference 2022 Draft Program

Tue, Sep 27th

9:00 AM – 10:30 AM MDT

Welcome & Kickoff

Reunited and it feels so good! The best learning happens with others, and we’re celebrating being able to do so in person again with familiar and new friends.

10:50 AM – 11:50 AM MDT

PO Board Patterns

Richard Lawrence

The Product Owner Board looks like a recommended structure for your Product Backlog, but it’s not really. It’s really one expression of a pattern language. And that pattern language enables a wide range of effective backlog structures for different situations. In this session, we’ll make those patterns visible and play out when you might use one approach versus another.

Patterns of Great Leadership in Uncertainty

Peter Green

What does great leadership look like when there is a crisis, uncertainty, or stress in an organization? Many of the stories about leadership in this context focus on leaders coming in with clear directions and answers, and sometimes that might be the right thing. But we’ve noticed a pattern that differs in a key way–it involves the perspectives and creativity of many more people in the organization, sometimes everyone. This creates vastly more capability to respond in effective, innovative ways to uncertain situations. In this session, we’ll share the patterns and work through a few examples.

Managing Up

Tricia Broderick

You are excitedly trying to make things happen. But a seemingly common source is creating impediment after impediment in your way, leading to the frequent question, “How do I manage up?” While this may feel like the only logical choice, heading down this path often only exacerbates the issues. Frustration grows. Conflict escalates. Progress is impeded. Relationships broken. In this session, expect to explore several practical tips for improving communication and relationships with senior leaders.

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM MDT

Lunch

1:10 PM – 2:40 PM MDT

Habits & Strategies of Effective Agile Teams

Richard Lawrence, Peter Green

As one teacher of philosophy summarized Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.” The best Agile teams adopt similar habits. And sets of these habits hang together into strategies, where they interact to produce larger outcomes. Join Peter and Richard for an exploration of the habits and strategies you can use to produce excellence in the teams you work with.

Leading Through Change

Jake Calabrese, Paul Tevis

Most advice for helping people with change addresses the tangible elements of a situation, like installing a new payroll system, reorganizing into teams, or hiring a new CEO. Delivering these well is important – and it’s not the whole story of change. This session explores what is happening with people as they experience change and how effective change leadership supports them through the process of change they experience.

Facilitating Team Decisions

Tricia Broderick

One of the agile manifesto principles is “Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.” Personally, I wish this principle was written to say motivated teams. Because leaders giving the environment and support for individuals to make team decisions is anything but trivial. Achieving effective decisions goes beyond bringing people together for consensus. This approach may lead to groupthink or repeating decision meetings. Instead, leaders facilitate collaboration by building and tapping into the co-intelligence of the entire team. In this deep dive session, discover and examine a framework that creates the environment for participatory decision-making.

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM MDT

Resilient Learning Teams

Tricia Broderick

In today’s fast-changing VUCA—and let’s just be honest, crazy world—leaders need new tools and techniques that ensure results. Old habits, like assigning individual tasks or finding who to blame for failures, waste precious time and effort. While it’s rare for anyone to set out to be judgmental or wasteful, the consequences are only escalating in this crazy world. New ideas, like focusing on essential team motivators and addressing resilience factors, foster a team’s ability to learn and handle any unexpected and challenging tasks that come their way. In this session, join Tricia for an exploration of models that leaders can apply immediately to begin enabling resilient learning teams.

4:15 PM – 5:00 PM MDT

Day 1 Closing

Wed, Sep 28th

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM MDT

Two Sides to the Layers of Resistance

Richard Lawrence

Whatever significant change you’re thinking about proposing, there’s one outcome you can count on: resistance. Big changes inevitably provoke resistance. You may have encountered Goldratt’s layers of resistance in a previous session with us. In this session, we’ll briefly review the model. Then, we’ll dig deeper to see that there are really two sides to each level—and it’s easy to miss one. This extra nuance will help us plumb below the surface resistance to see what’s really going on.

The Four Ways Culture Can Go Wrong

Peter Green

What is culture? How can it go wrong? What can we do to influence it? In this session, we’ll start by aligning on a clear and useful definition of culture. Then, we’ll learn two polarities that help us map our cultures and how that can be connected to the Laloux/Spiral model of culture. Next, we’ll work through how overemphasis on any pole leads to four ways culture can go wrong. Finally, we’ll learn how to evaluate our culture using two criteria: alignment and intensity, and ways that you can increase those criteria, regardless of your title or role.

WWYD (scenarios)

Tricia Broderick

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a manual that told you exactly how to respond in any work situation? If you’re like us, you’ll quickly think yes while a bigger part of us thinks, how boring. The wonderful and challenging part of work is that no two days are the same. Yet, we can still learn from the collective wisdom of others. In this different-styled session, expect to actively participate in a ‘What Would You Do’ brainstorming for a variety of scenarios (bring your scenarios too!).

10:20 AM – 11:50 AM MDT

They’re All Customers: Using Customer Research Tools to Improve Stakeholder Relationships

Richard Lawrence

All those tools you use to understand customers? They don’t just work for actual customers and for building product backlogs. We’ll get hands-on to see how to use customer research tools to transform all your stakeholder relationships.

Why Believing in People as a Leader is Harder and Trickier Than It Appears

Jake Calabrese

One of the most important aspects of being a leader or coach is believing in the people you are helping. A frame for doing this is to know that they are creative and intelligent. While the concept is simple, in practice it can be far more challenging because truly believing people are creative and intelligent goes far beyond simply saying it. We don’t simply “believe in people” and we are done.

This session will dive into the concept itself, what it means at many levels, and how the idea takes continuous learning over time to continue to “get it” at new levels. Additionally, we will explore what happens when leaders think they believe in people but actually don’t. This can be one of the most challenging situations because the leaders truly believe they are helping people. Instead, they may be pushing people to an unsafe space and/or manipulating them. Expect to explore all these concepts and apply them to your reality. We will consider options that can help you see where you are, look for new levels of depth, and avoid some of the worst-case scenarios.

Unlocking Discussions & Learning

Tricia Broderick

“No one talks”, “The same people only talk”, “I always have to say/do it”, or any other similar problems happen for leaders attempting to build teams. To break these patterns, leaders focus on building collaborative discussions and learning within their teams. In this deeper session, expect to examine rules for accelerating team learning. Expect to analyze and experience the approach of engaging activities that help individuals and the team internalize the learning, leading to finding insights. Then culminates in practicing creating and delivering valuable debrief conditions to promote collaborative connections for the application of the learning.

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM MDT

Lunch

1:10 PM – 3:00 PM MDT

Special afternoon sessions TBA

3:15 PM – 4:15 PM MDT

Commitments & Accountability

Peter Green

When we strongly value human connection, it’s easy to fall into the trap of making fuzzy commitments, since we don’t want to let anyone down or to be let down. That makes it difficult or impossible to create accountability. The other end of the spectrum isn’t great either: making ambitious commitments and burning ourselves and others out trying to meet them no matter what, and people “holding others accountable” for things they never committed to in the first place. In this session, we’ll work through how to make commitments in a way that is human-centered and complexity-aware, what it means to honorably break a commitment, and how to have accountability conversations in a way that increases connection, rather than harms it.

Want to Speak at Meetups and Conferences?

Richard Lawrence

Public speaking is one of the best ways to make meaningful connections, boost your career, and have a positive impact on the world. And there are more opportunities than ever before to get started as a speaker. Not sure what you’d present? No problem! In this session, you’ll generate at least a dozen possible topics using the session brainstorming worksheet Richard uses for his own topics. Then, we’ll talk through how to get from an idea to an actual session on a Meetup calendar.

Iterating Toward Better: Working with Impediments

Paul Tevis

An impediment is anything slowing down your ability to achieve your goal. Continuous improvement requires you to identify these obstacles to success – and then doing something about them. Many organizations excel at the former and struggle with the latter. This session explores ways to “get better at getting better” through a cyclical process for establishing goals, identifying obstacles, and experimenting with ways to address or mitigate them.

4:30 PM – 5:00 PM MDT

Day 2 Closing

Thu, Sep 29th

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM MDT

How We Went From a Vague Idea to a Clear Value Proposition & Product Tests

Richard Lawrence, Peter Green

When we were working out the 3 Jobs of Management model, we didn’t have a clear idea of exactly how it would be useful, or to whom. We had a vague idea that it could help lots of different people get clarity on the role of management, but no idea what shape that might take. In this session, we’ll share the process we used to learn the actual value proposition, and how that process can inform anyone in a similar situation to turn a vague idea into something that resonates with the right people.

The Simple and Hard Parts of Agile-Lean Organizations

Jake Calabrese, Paul Tevis

Describing an organization that operates with agility is simple. A few key elements encapsulate what it means to work this way. (Although people often make it more complicated than it needs to be!) We will review the core elements and align on those. Of course, actually working this way is hard. This session explores some of the challenges that persist even after an organization decides it wants to incorporate these core elements, particularly around establishing an environment where people voice their opinions, point out problems, and discuss mistakes.

Being a Courageous Leader

Tricia Broderick

Have you ever felt like you needed to defend your leadership principles or approach? Where the momentum and status quo seems to be counter to your goals? You would not be alone. Once during a tense re-organization discussion, I was warned to step back with “We have real leaders here. Not ones that focus on the fluffy stuff you do. We don’t have time for all of that.” Although I was tempted to respond with things that would be very inappropriate, I understood that evolving the world of leadership required courage. In this session, expect to consider and adapt several tips for better responses and self-care that help you embrace the courage you are already demonstrating.

10:20 AM – 11:50 AM MDT

Five Lenses and Levers of Leadership

Paul Tevis

Leadership is a social process that enables individuals to work together as a cohesive group to produce collective results – results they could not achieve working as individuals. Leadership is not the exclusive domain of those “leaders” appointed by the organization. This session introduces five ways to analyze a situation where a group would benefit from more leadership and five corresponding areas for action regardless of your role in the group. Bring a challenging situation you are dealing with and discover what options for action you have.

What To Do When People are Looking At the Same Challenge As If They Are From Different Planets (or Agility Success in Different Org Sizes/Industries)

Jake Calabrese

We often see scenarios, challenges, and issues from very different perspectives. Sometimes it even appears we are coming from a different planet or a different land. We will explore the topic of “What does Agility/Agile Success look like in organizations of different sizes and industries.” We will use a tool from the professional coaching space to gain new insights and ideas from everyone in the session. Building on these we will look at how we can create shared perspectives from seemingly very different views. Based on your understanding of the tool, you will have a chance to explore a challenge you have today and map out some next steps to use to explore the challenge with the others involved. .

Exposing Power Dynamics

Tricia Broderick

No leader wants to walk into a conversation-filled room, only to have everyone go silent and stare at them. Too frequently, this is followed by an attempt to diminish the power dynamics with “just consider me one of the team.” Only this fails to work, over and over and over. Power dynamics will always exist. The question is whether you as a leader learn how to energize people using “power with” instead of “power over”. In this deeper session, expect to examine four power dynamics that impact everyone’s abilities. As you practice a couple of leadership tools for “power with”, expect to discover vulnerabilities, expectations, and hidden truths in the current struggles. The goal is to challenge yourself, so you can not only energize others but yourself too.

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM MDT

Lunch

1:10 PM – 5:00 PM MDT

Afternoon sessions and activities TBA

4:20 PM – 5:00 PM MDT

Day 3 Closing